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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  January 16, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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him listening to that tease from that albuquerque station during the broadcast as he waited during the interview. as you can tell it is bad quality video. but you can see him dying laughing as he hears the anchor say what she said. since this became a famous thing, he apparently runs the video of that blooper when he makes his motivational speeches, a couple of years after that happened, the anchor who did it moved to a dallas station. and her original station staged a reunion, and years later she finally got to explain why she said what she did. >> right before this story, we did extensive covering about a woman who was gay, gay was in the head. and we came out with the tease about you, boom, it happened. you were so gracious, we never talked about it and we moved on. and i'm sorry. >> no, please, i should be thanking you.
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it is the greatest thing ever. >> it is the greatest thing ever, and the guy who thinks so is motivating all the members of the republican congress right now as we speak. which is the best new thing in the world right now, you guys be careful. gay is in the head. now it is time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. today, the president went where no president has gone before, making guns and ammunition control his first legislative priority. >> the president going bold on his newtown promise. >> we'll make it easier to keep the guns out. >> to fight gun violence in our nation. >> restore a ban on military-style assault weapons, a ten-round magazine. this is common sense. >> common sense. >> these gun control measures are extreme. >> guns are just one small part of it. >> all of those rights cannot be infringed.
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don't gag law-abiding citizens. >> are the president's kids more important than yours. >> the nra is out with a video. >> i don't know where to go with this. >> his kids are protected by armed guards. >> he mentioned the president's kids. >> this extremism is so frightening. >> the president's kids are off limits. >> why is it over the line, but not over the line for the president to bring in children. >> obama uses children as shields. >> we don't benefit from ignorance. >> i don't know where to do with this. >> this time must be different. >> these gun control measures are extreme. >> obama uses kids as human shields. >> with some of the nation's children. >> enough, this time must be different.
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>> today, president obama made white house history by being the first president to make gun control legislation his first presidential legislative priority. the president was preceded to the microphone today and introduced by the only person who could have put together a full presidential legislative package on gun control in only 30 days. the man who was chairman of the senate committee that passed the original assault weapons ban 20 years ago, the man who took the stage today as clearly the most valuable vice president of the modern age. >> it has been 33 days since the nation's heart was broken by the horrific senseless violence that took place at sandy hook elementary school. 20, 20 beautiful first graders gunned down in a place that is supposed to be their second sanctuary. six, six members of the staff killed, trying to save those children.
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we all know we have a moral obligation, a moral obligation to everything in our power to stop the prospect of something like that happening again. >> the vice president described the meeting last month with 22 groups, gun officials, gun groups, sportsmen, hunters, he also mentioned meetings with members of congress and offered personal thanks to parents who suffered the worst imaginable loss at sandy hook elementary school. >> i want to personally thank mcdonnell, who lost a beautiful daughter, grace, and the other parents who i had a chance to speak to, for their suggestions and for again, just for their -- the courage of all of you to be here today. i admire -- i admire the grace and the resolve that you all are showing.
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and i must say i have been deeply affected by your faith, as well. and the president and i are going to do everything to try to match the revolve you have demonstrated. >> the president, then demonstrated his resolve. >> this is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe. this is how we will be judged. so i'm putting forward a specific set of proposals based on the work of joe's task force. and in the days ahead i intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality. because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence.
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if there is even one life that can be saved then we have got an obligation to try it. >> the president announced he would sign 23 executive orders giving law enforcement, schools and mental health facilities some additional schools to reduce gun violence, including strengthening background check systems. then he announced his legislative proposals. >> first, it is time to congress to require a universal background check for anybody trying to buy a gun. second, congress should restore a ban on military-style assault weapons, and a ten-round limit for magazines. [ applause ] >> and finally, congress needs to help, rather than hinder law enforcement as it does its job. we should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals.
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and we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this. >> the president has no illusions about the road ahead. >> this will be difficult. there will be pundits and politicians and special interest lobbyists warning about the assault on liberty. not because it is true, but because they want to stir up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves. and behind the scenes they will do everything they can to block any common sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever. >> the president closed with a private revelation of what helps keep him focused on this issue. >> when i visited newtown last month i spent some private time with many of the families who lost their children that day. and one was the family of grace
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mcdonnell, grace's parents are here. grace was 7 years old when she was struck down. just -- a gorgeous, caring joyful little girl. i'm told she loved pink. she loved the beach. she dreamed of becoming a painter. and so just before i left chris, her father, gave me one of her paintings. and i hung it in my private study, just off the oval office. and every time i look at that painting, i think about grace. and i think about the life that she lived and the life that lay ahead of her. and most of all i think about how when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us we must act now. for grace. for the 25 other innocent children and devoted educators
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who had so many left to give. for the men and women in big cities and small towns who fall victim to senseless violence each and every day. for all the americans who are counting on us to keep them safe from harm. let's do the right thing. let's do the right thing for them, and for this country that we love so much. thank you. >> krystal ball, that was a parent and father in chief that was speaking today. >> as you reported on, joe biden could not be a better emissary on this issue, both for the reasons you pointed out, and also he knows personal tragedy and knows it well. so when he speaks about this issue, too, it comes from a personal place.
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and i think the president is smart in what he is doing here politically, as well. he knows that assault weapons ban, the ban on extended magazines, universal background checks. those are things that a republican congress is not just going to come out and support. he has to remind american people of how important this is. he has to get the american people behind him, and ultimately even if it takes a turnover in the house in 2014, which is something i think we personally could see. even if that is the end game having the american people behind him is ultimately the only way that anything real is going to happen here. >> richard wolff, a word on joe biden today. i was struck watching him lead the way into this subject. that i really cannot think of a more effective, more valuable vice president that we have had. unless you are a big fan of torture and invading countries to get weapons of mass
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destruction -- you know, cheney, if you're a fan of that stuff then you have another candidate for this. but am i missing some other vice president who has played as central an important a role in getting things done in the white house? >> well, no, and the job is worth a bucket of warm liquid. so he -- cheney did not actually work his magic, his black magic through the law-abiding means, right? this is about legislation. and remember, joe biden, look, he gets a lot of criticism and mockery for his kind of folksy ways, overly personal ways. but what he did, as you well know at that time was say we as democrats are going to be tough about crime, we're going to put 100,000 cops on the street. so there was not just the gun control piece of it. they were going to say, we're going to support law enforcement, and that is still the framework you hear today. pro law enforcement, they do not want these weapons on the street.
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so i -- look, you can say it is smart politics and okay, let's say it is smart politics. i think there is something else going on here. it is personal, i have seen the look in the president's eye before. it was health care, what about the politics, the difficulty of the legislation, in the end it comes down to an emotional thing for actually somebody who is not that emotional. when he talks about the little girl, and relates to his own daughters, by the way, the nra has done that, too. that is politics not in the way we think about politics, but politics in the real sense of the word. >> let's listen to ronald reagan talk about this. >> weapons designed for war have no place in a movie theater. the majority of americans agree with us on this. and by the way, so did ronald reagan, one of the staunchest defenders of the second amendment who wrote to congress in 1994, urging them, this is ronald reagan speaking, urging
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them to listen to the american public and the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of military-style assault weapons. >> that man has more in common with ronald reagan on policy than any republican in the house of representatives. ronald reagan raised the debt ceiling when necessary without complaint, and raised taxes more than once. and reagan was in favor of a ban on assault weapons just like president obama. >> right, and that comment was a way of saying that these are very centrist reforms, really common sense things that most americans agree with. he emphasized that in a few ways and a few times during that time. and i think the framing you're talking about, too, is really important. it is not just guns they're looking at. they're looking at mental health and research, links between violent media. you know, they are looking at
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more armed school resource officers at schools and providing funding for that. but i think constantly framing it, these are things that just make sense that the majority of americans support. and how can the republicans be so intransigent, not be even willing to discuss or consider any of these measures. >> richard, a month ago we heard the pundits say hand it off to joe biden and you will be involved in a senate committee process and lose all the momentum. well, this president/joe biden team, in the meantime, solved the fiscal cliff situation. joe biden reached the final deal with mr. mcconnell on how to do that. and by the way, as far as i can tell in that room today they didn't lose a day of momentum, emotional momentum on this case in the last month. >> right, if it is an incompetent man, he turned out to be pretty professional. there -- it is very easy to be cynical, everybody in the news
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media says people will forget about it. they are not forgetting about it. because the power at what happened at sandy hook, there are still families out there. ronald reagan is not just saying that because it makes sense politically. right, he can embarrass republicans. he has long wanted to be the ronald reagan of the left. he has wanted to shift the political discussion. so he knows whether or not this legislation gets through he has changed the debate by simply sticking to his principles and saying this is not off limits. we're not going to be intimidated by the nra. it will happen. >> richard wolff and krystal ball, thank you for joining us. thank you. coming up, we'll go inside the nra with an investigator who will tell us about his conversation with a high level official. who actually lives minutes away from sandy hook elementary school.
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it is a weird show for me tonight, i don't like anything we're talking about. i don't like talking about gun violence in america or about what happened at sandy hook. i really don't like talking about this video that we showed you last night that the nra did using president obama's daughters. using his daughters in their insane propaganda about their cause of making sure that american mass murderers are the best equipped mass murderers in the world. i don't like these subjects, and we're going to have to talk about it a little bit more. because today, instead of taking down that video the nra spent the day defending it. we'll have more on that coming up.
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>> we have to examine ourselves and our hearts, and ask ourselves what is important. this will not happen unless the american people demand it. if parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, if hunters and sportsmen, if responsible gun owners, if americans of every background stand up and say enough, we have suffered too much pain. and care too much about our children to allow this to continue, then change will come. that is what it is going to take. you know, in the letter that julie wrote me, she said, i know that laws have to be passed by congress. but i beg you to try very hard.
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julie, i will try very hard. >> the witnesses to history today as the president made his announcement included children, cabinet members, and a sadly large group of people who are united by tragedy. the living victims of gun violence, some who have lost family members. others who have been shot themselves and survived. joining me now, two people who were in the room with the president today, congresswoman mccarthy of new york, her husband was killed and her son injured in the massacre on long island railroad. and steven barton who was shot in the aurora massacre in july. he is also from connecticut and actually used to live about ten minutes from sandy hook elementary school. thank you both for joining me tonight. congresswoman mccarthy, i have to ask you since your career in politics began with this cause, what was it like for you to be at the only, the only
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presidential announcement in history of gun control initiatives being initiated and pushed by the president of the united states. >> well, i have to tell you there were times where i was about ready to break down and cry. to be in the audience with so many of the victims and to see so many of the different groups that i have worked with for years, and some new ones and to hear the president take a very, very strong stance. i'm very proud of president obama and certainly vice president joe biden who has done so much work on bringing everybody together. i really -- you have worked on the hill. you know what it is like here. it is going to be a tough job but i have to say the president has promised that he is going to use his office to get out in the country and really talk this up. and get the american people on our side. >> steven, you were in a room with victims of gun violence today, yourself a victim.
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you still have, what is it eight shotgun pellets in your body from what happened in colorado? did you have a chance to speak to some of the families of the victims of the sandy hook tragedy? >> i did get a chance to speak with -- speak with several families. and you know, the heartbreak that they have endured and are enduring now, is really the heart of the debate. the lives of the children of this country, so many of them who are killed by gun violence every single day. so you know, it has only been a month since 20 young children were brutally murdered in connecticut. and you know, i really commend the president and vice president for acting so quickly on this issue that you know, has long required this sort of serious discussion. and i'm glad that we're having it now. >> congresswoman mccarthy, there was a lot of talk say three
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weeks ago by pundits saying oh, well, you know they're going to wait until january. the momentum will go out of this issue by that time. it felt to me like there was an awful lot of momentum today. and it felt to me like something less than a month had gone by since joe biden went to work on this. >> you're absolutely right. and i have to tell you, i mean, the energy that was in that room. the attorney general came over to me and gave me a big hug and said, carolyn, this is all of your work finally coming to a place where we can get something done. so listen, it is not about me. it is about the victims. it is about the victims we hopefully can save. we know, as the president said, that we're not going to be able to save everybody. but i have to tell you, we can cut down the amount of killings in this country in more than half, in my opinion. when you think about it, since what happened in sandy hook, 900 people have died from that day.
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900 people in 33 days, a lot of them children. so i mean, we should be on the right side of this issue. i believe the american people if you look at the polls are saying we're on the right side of this issue. and we are reaching out to everybody. we're meeting with the nra, we're meeting with sportsmen, with hunters, we're meeting with people who have not agreed with us to try to bring them all on board. and with the president as i said, going out in the country pushing the assault weapons bill. making sure that everybody in this country goes through a background check. and also, him saying we're not after your guns. you have a constitutional right to own the gun. and yet, the nra keeps putting out these notices. and what they did as far as an ad, going after president obama's children, you know that has always been off the plate. you don't go after the president's children. and i was very insulted by that particular ad. but i'm telling you, we'll work
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like crazy, we'll bring everybody together. it is going to be a tough job and we need the american people behind us. >> steven barton, one of the lies that the nra and others continue to try to assert is that nothing the president proposed today would have changed what happened at sandy hook. we talk about the tragedy at sandy hook. there were 26 tragedies in the school that day. 26 tragedies, and that is because he got to use the kind of weapon and the kind of ammunition clip that president obama and carolyn mccarthy are trying to make illegal. they're trying to make those unavailable to the kinds of people who go in the schools like that. and his mother bought this stuff legally. she clearly was not the law breaking type. she would not have tried to obtain weapons legally. if she had not been able to obtain the weapons legally, they would not have been in the hands of the killer that day. and we would not have had the tragedies that day.
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he would have killed some people with that gun, but not 26. >> and vp joe biden said don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. and you know, we can't prevent every killing in this country. but that doesn't mean we don't have an obligation to try. you know, enact these common sense solutions that we know will be successful in decreasing gun violence in this country. i mean, universal background checks, talking about the nra as an organization, we have to be clear, there is a distinction between who the nra leadership represents and their member and what they think. so talking about measures like universal background checks, 70% of nra members support that, and it is even higher among nongun owners. so this is an issue that they have come to a consensus on. and none of the pressures that
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president obama proposed today would infringe on anybody's second amendment rights, that is completely untrue. >> thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up, howard dean will join me with his reaction to the nra using president obama's children in their propaganda. and later, we will go inside the nra and expose some of the blood-drenched members of their board of directors. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] don't just reject convention. drown it out. introducing the all-new 2013 lexus ls f sport.
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these two guys are on the
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board of the national rifle association. tom selleck is not a bad guy. i have invited him on the show to talk about his position with the nra. i hope he comes on. because i believe his life is at a moral crossroads. the decision he is going to have to make is will he stick with the principles that the nra leadership wants to advance over the opinions of the nra's membership that actually disagrees with the nra leadership? now, neither one of those guys have resigned from the board of the nra over the nra's sleazy use of the president's children and their use of the propaganda. we'll expose more members of the board of the nra coming up. and next, howard dean will join me with his reaction to the nra's tactics. [ male announcer ] at scottrade, we believe the more you know, the better you trade. so we have ongoing webinars and interactive learning, plus, in-branch seminars at over 500 locations,
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come in. ♪ got the coffee. that was fast. we're outta here. ♪ [ engine revs ] ♪ i mean, it is disgusting on many levels. it is also -- it is just stupid. this reminds me of something an ad that somebody made about 2:00 a.m. after one too many drinks. and no one stopped it in the morning. >> former white house press secretary robert gibbs was talking about this nra video that we showed you last night. >> are the president's kids more important than yours? then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their schools? mr. obama demands the wealthy
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pay their fair share of taxes, but he is just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to protection for their kids. >> white house press secretary jay carney released this statement this morning. most americans agree that the president's children shouldn't be used as pawns in a fight. but to go to far as to use safety for the children in an attack ad is cowardly. >> he don't mention them specifically, we mention these kids. >> joining me now is howard dean, former chairman of the dnc and former governor of vermont. governor dean, i have to ask you, your kids were roughly their age when you were
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government of vermont. you know what it is like for kids to live under having a father in this kind of position. what is your reaction to what the nra has done here? >> well, first of all i think kids are always off bounds. and if they're not, the press should not be doing it. here you have an organization that is doing it. let's look at the difference between the nra members, who at least in my state are reasonable people. from the nra leadership in washington, which are hate-mongering fundraisers. they are appealing to people who hate and by using the president's rhetoric, first, about the high taxes on rich people. and then using his kids. these are not respectable people. these are hate mongering and they're extremists, and they crossed a line and a line that i would guess that 90% of americans agree has been crossed. i think they have done themselves terrible, terrible damage. there is a reason, for example, you haven't seen wayne lapierre
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on the talk shows after sort of the spitting rant that he gave a couple of weeks ago. and now, the whole leadership has basically lost all of their credibility. >> governor, i'm so glad you made the distinction between the nra members and leadership, because we now have polling showing that the nra membership are in favor of background checks, a majority of them in favor of things that the nra leadership is opposed to. so there is a huge disconnect. >> they're appealing to hate and they're getting more members. because there are people who hate the obamas. this is no longer about the second amendment. this is about raising money on hate. >> and one of the people who made it very clear that this is not about the second amendment is the most conservative member of the supreme court, justice scalia, who said that the heller case, there could be some limitations.
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that is what he said, there are some limitations that can be imposed. so to pretend that what the nra is doing, you can't legislate, that defies what the supreme court and justice scalia said about this. >> that is true. i was endorsed eight consecutive times by the nra when i ran for statewide office in vermont. these people are not crazy. the local people, they are hunters, they just don't want their guns taken away. they don't believe you ought to kill a dear with the semiautomatic that has an eight-round magazine. they laugh at that. i saw a guy one time who gave a speech, saying i have a constitutional right to have a bazooka if i want one. they looked at the guy like he was a lunatic, this is a stupid,
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crazy thing to do to put the president's children in your political ad. it is a dumb, a hate-based thing to do. it may raise them money but sure wouldn't help their credibility with the average americans. even nra members won't like it, because a lot of them are average americans. >> you mentioned the bazooka thing, scalia said something like that. the amendment doesn't apply to handguns that can't be carried. he is very specific about all that. governor howard dean, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, the nra is really just a front organization for the money-making merchants of death in this country. unmasking the nra is coming up. . now, here's one that will make you feel alive. meet the five-passenger ford c-max hybrid.
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its membership? unmasking the people who really run the national rifle association is next. and "the last word" exclusive, the superintendent in connecticut who brought congressmen to tears in washington will get tonight's last word. [ male announcer ] this is joe woods' first day of work.
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but better work has been done here than i could do, so i'll have a guest here to guide us. the fact is, before the president finished speaking today, before he finished speaking, republicans in the blood-drenched grip of the nra were already issuing statements filled with nra talking points. missouri republican senator's statements said the president's proposals today fundamentally failed to propose ways to prevent issues like sandy hook, and instead, he is intending to restrict the second amendment rights of law abiding americans. no word yet on how this out right lie was proposed by the staff or his son, who is on the nra board of directors. and is one of the nine members of the exclusive nominating committee, which has effective
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control over who can become a member of the board. we know this, thanks to frank smyth in mother jones reveals who is on the committee, including the chief executive of freedom group, the merchants of death, who made the bushmaster military-style assault rifle, used to rip of the bodies of the 26 in sandy hook elementary school. and the head of the nominating committee actually lives in newtown, connecticut, patricia a. clark, who has done everything in her power to make sure american mass murderers can fire as many bullets as they want, without reloading, lives just a few minutes away from sandy hook elementary school. joining me now is frank smyth,
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the investigative journalist who has gone inside the nra for "mother jones." frank, this is so important, this is exactly the kind of legislation i've been looking for. this -- patricia clark? >> yes. >> lives in newtown? >> she lives in newtown. >> she runs this committee, this is the committee who really decides who gets to be on the board. they pretend to have elections, but this committee is rigged. >> and she ran the nominating committee in 2012. there is a new committee in effect now. but the way the elections work, it is sort of like a communist politburo, nobody knows who is on there. >> you just finding out who is on there is difficult. >> absolutely, and supporters of the nra, but some claim it is a sham election. they hand-pick the candidates for the nra elections that get on the ballot. and 29 out of 31 candidates on
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the ballot are in fact picked by the nominating committee. every year, one or two get on by a petition of 250 members or more. the result is, the election is a done deal before the ballots go out. and pro-nra bloggers entered a complaint, that i don't know if i will fill it out, it is a waste of time, there is no discussion or debate in the process. it is simply about rubber stamping about what the nominating committee has already done. and ultimately it is a way the board and the paid executive officers that are chosen by the board to keep themselves and people loyal to them in power. >> and this is the way this guy -- did i say his name right? >> yes. >> that is the way he got on the board, he runs one of these gun manufacturers, he runs the people who profit from the bushmaster, the weapon that can kill so well. and he couldn't get elected. we have a picture up there. i want people to take a good look at it.
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leave it up there a while. i want this merchant of downtown to be stared at by a national audience as long as possible. he couldn't get on any other way except the rigged system. >> that is right, he never could get on the nra board, ran a few times and lost. he was put on the nominating committee by members of the board, at the same time he is now one of the ceo of one of the largest arms consortium in the country. he is not elected by the membership and holds no position. there is no way of knowing if he has an organic position with the nra whatsoever, except in this document i obtained that says he was appointed to the nominating committee. >> but wayne lapierre's real job is to make sure that that guy can get richer and richer and richer from these murder instruments. >> i think wayne lapierre's real job, the chief executive officer of the nra is to manage the
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message of the nra, in order to keep himself and others in power and to continue to have the political clout that they have had. he is an expert at manipulating the press and manipulating the message. he is extremely idealogical in his own writings and when he talks to people where he feels safe in a sympathetic forum. but you notice when he spoke at the press conference a week after newtown, he didn't mention the second amendment once, not once, i think what people need to realize is imagine if the vatican were to come out and say we're going to hold a press conference to make a meaningful contribution to the debate about reproduction rights. and then they came out and said we have new data showing that birth control doesn't work. nobody would take it seriously. the nra is idealogically pre-disposed to not supporting any gun control legislation. in fact, there is evidence that they would like to repeal the ban on fully automatic weapons.
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so they want to go the other way. lapierre makes an argument, what works versus what doesn't work. >> i have to ask you about patricia clark, you tracked her down, she works in the health care business in southern connecticut. you got her on the phone. how did that conversation go? what did you ask her? >> i asked her if she was in the program, a teacher, she said yes, i said you're a board member. she said yes, she said who is this, i said i'm frank smyth, i asked her if she was on the nominating committee. >> you asked her if she knew anybody that suffered in that newtown -- >> well, i asked her, if she knew anybody affected -- she stopped me there before i can answer a question. she says it was a hard time for me, i'm not interested in giving an interview at this time.
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i wanted to ask her, she may know someone, but how close she may be or not to people who were killed. >> it should be a very, very hard time for an nra official living in newtown, connecticut. i hope it is a hard time. frank smyth, thank you very much for this reporting. >> my pleasure. >> coming up, speaking about the gun violence and children. and ! that nasty odor coming from your washer. say farewell to the smell with tide washing machine cleaner. it goes straight to the source of the stink to lift odor-causing residues off your washer's drum. tide washing machine cleaner. omnipotent of opportunity. you know how to mix business... with business. and from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle. and go.
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that morning was like every other morning, after all, routines are comforting for kids. until about 9:30, when a troubled young man carrying two guns, one of them an ar-15, assault rifle, shot out the glass window to bypass the
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buzz-in system at the door and changed the lives of so many people in the next few minutes. >> that was the superintendent of newtown schools today telling house democrats what happened at sandy hook elementary school. she was not testifying in front of a house committee, because house committees are controlled by the party that is owned by the gun merchants of america. and the gun merchants do not want the chairman that they own allowing testimony at their hearings about what their mass murder products actually do when they're aimed at children. >> this loving little elementary school was helpless in the face of this assault. 20 beautiful and innocent little first graders were lost that day in a senseless act. they were no match for a troubled person with an ar-15. at the fire house where we had all gathered to try to sort through the events of the day,
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the true horror of the assault began to become apparent as parents came running, crying to the station looking for their children. as we released children to their parents, we began to realize we didn't have enough children. there were parents without children. it was then that i began to realize the magnitude of this horror. >> the superintendent then read a letter written to nancy pelosi. >> i would just like to share with you as one final thought a fourth grade student, congresswoman nancy pelosi sent you a letter, and her name is ava. she says i am a fourth grade student in newtown, connecticut. after the shooting in my town i sent a letter to the president asking for help from congress to change the gun laws. it got a lot of support from americans, but then i had to take it down because of my same. what everybody wants you to do is ban the high capacity magazines and for everyone to
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use guns safely. >> joining me now for an exclusive interview, newtown superintendent, dr. janet robinson. thank you for joining us. >> nice to see you, lawrence. >> ava's note said what everybody in newtown wants is for you to ban semiautomatic weapons, and i'm sorry to say that is not apparently what everyone in newtown wants. we were just talking in the last segment about patricia clark, who is a high-ranking nra official who lives in newtown. and as i think you know, newtown in the past has had a fairly large community in support for extreme positions on gun rights. >> ava is one of our fourth grade students, and ava speaks for the heart of the students. the students, not just the students at sandy hook but the students throughout the district
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had their sense of safety shattered by the incident. and ava is forthright enough to speak about how the children and their families feel about this issue. >> what i was struck by in your testimony is there is no amount of time that can pass that can make hearing another account about what happened there, another voice, today it was you, that doesn't absolutely horrify everybody who was listening. people couldn't keep their composure to what you had to tell them. is it surprising to you that what ava wants, which is so clear, that could run into resistance in washington? >> yes, it is surprising to me.


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